City cracks down on banners

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Recently, several local businesses were informed by a letter from the City of Demopolis some of their signs may be in violation of the law. The letter stated these banners were a violation of Article IX, which is the Sign Regulations of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Demopolis. The document asked businesses to have banners, placards or other items removed no later than Aug. 18 or face a fine of no less than $50 or more than $100 per day.

Junior Brooker, Demopolis city Building Official, said businesses that received letters were quick to comply with the law.

“So far, of the 20 letters we sent out 18 businesses have taken them down,” Brooker said. “We are in the process now of getting a few more sent out.”

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Brooker said the ordinance was discussed and voted on by the council who asked him to inform those who were in violation.

“This is something the council voted on as part of our zoning law,” Brooker said. “The vote was done and they asked me to send out some letters and that is where we are now. We have gotten a real good response as far as people removing the banners to the letter we sent out.”

The recent enforcement of the ordinance has some business owners wondering why the city has chosen to enforce these rules now. Many argue in the process of enforcing this ordinance the city is hurting businesses by taking away a cheap and effective form of advertising.

The ordinance states that portable signs are permitted in non-residential districts for a period not to exceed 30 days upon approval by the city building official. However, an extension of 30 days may be granted with the approval of an additional permit by the building official; thereby, allowing a total of 60 days in a 365 day period of time. Said period of time shall commence starting at the date of expiration of the last approved portable sign permit for the business making application for a portable sign permit. There shall be no more than one portable sign permitted per business operation.

The ordinance goes on to state signs shall be constructed and maintained to conform to all building codes of the city of Demopolis. It also states that flashing lights or signs illuminated with intermittent light, except time and temperature indicators are prohibited.

Any sign displayed painted or attached to or on any vehicle or trailer parked on a public right of way or on private property, for the primary purpose of advertising a business product or service or activity is prohibited.

At all street intersections, no sign shall be placed, erected, or maintained at any location if such sign obstructs vision within a triangular area formed by the intersecting street right of way lines and a line drawn between points along such right of way lines 30 feet distant from their point of intersection and between elevations of two and a half and 12 feet above the established grade within this triangular area.

The ordinance further states signs shall not be attached to trees, utility poles or placed on any public right of way or public property. Signs with illegal, obscene or purient words, scenes of graphics are prohibited and windblown devices, including, but not limited to any banner, pennant, spinner, streamer, propeller, disc, moored blimp, gas balloon or flag that is designed to inform or attract attention is prohibited (except for exempt flags and banners set forth).